Q2 2019 | Candidate Experience2019-05-23T20:11:35+00:00

CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE

Candidate Experience

The world of hiring is more candidate-driven than ever before. A variety of employment opportunities, coupled with the rising bargaining power of employees, has lifted candidate experience to the top of many organizations’ lists of talent acquisition and workforce management priorities. Generally, the better the candidate experience, the more likely an organization is to attract the best talent. Top candidates demand compelling experiences during and after the hiring process.

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Assessing for Passion, Purpose and a Growth Mindset: Drivers for Change

By NICOLE FUQUA
Trend Writer

The world is changing faster than ever before – as employers grapple with the digital transformation, skills shortages and competitive economic conditions. In response to these drivers, job responsibilities change rapidly and organizations need to hire creative employees to innovate and implement new ideas.

According to McKinsey, the pace of change in the workplace is so rapid that, by 2030, as much as 14% of the global workforce could need to change occupational categories.

To remain competitive, employers cannot simply hire a candidate who can meet the requirements of a job as they are written on day one. The candidate needs to have the skills and drive to grow, learn and adapt as the organization moves into the future.

Despite this need to attract candidates with growth mindsets, the interview and assessment processes used by most employers are stuck in the past. For the purposes of this section, we refer to assessments as any stage in the interview process where a selection decision is made. So, an assessment can be a traditional skills test, a requirement that must be met on an application or type of interview, like behavioral or video interview. For most employers, these assessment processes have too many steps and are narrowly focused on hard skills – allowing too many candidates to become disqualified early, before they are able to demonstrate who they really are.

Employers need to broaden their use of candidate assessments to allow for measuring factors that impact a candidate’s ability and willingness to learn and grow, as well as their passion for the role and alignment with the broader purpose of the organization. Organizations need to assess a candidate as a whole person as early in the process as possible to really understand what they may be able to offer.

In this section, we explore the current state of assessments, the ways we at PeopleScout have worked to expand assessments to evaluate a candidate as a whole person, how these new assessments work in practice and the benefits and results of the whole person assessment method.

The Experts: Fiadhna McEvoy and Victoria Officer

Fiadhna McEvoy and Victoria Officer are two of the minds behind PeopleScout’s approach to assessments and the whole person model. They strive to create a talented team that can push boundaries and continuously grow and develop its assessment offering.

Fiadhna and Victoria are occupational psychologists – which means they have completed an accredited undergraduate degree or conversion course and an accredited master’s degree in occupational psychology. Fiadhna has also completed two years of practice supervised by the British Psychological Society to become a chartered occupational psychologist.

Their work is research-driven. The whole person model they outline in this section is based on decades of academic research into what makes an organization effective and how to improve the job satisfaction of employees. Their work is based on the proven forces that drive people at work.

Fiadhna and Victoria are fascinated by why people come to work and perform, how they can be happy and why they stick around. They blend the science of occupational psychology with the art of thinking differently to solve problems.

The Current State of Assessments and a Better Way Forward

By Fiadhna McEvoy
Director of Assessment and Development

The interview and assessment process is challenging for both candidates and employers. Traditional skills assessments focus on evaluating the capability, behavior and results of candidates.

Research shows that these traditional measures can predict the future success of certain candidates in specific roles; however, now that change is constant, we believe that traditional assessments work best under two conditions:

  1. When the candidate has had the opportunity to develop specific knowledge, skills and abilities through their past work experience.
  2. When the organization is very clear about the requirements of the role.

While traditional assessments can predict the success of an individual candidate under those circumstances, they may not accurately predict failure. We also know that they can actually lead to less diversity because certain groups perform worse on narrow skills assessments. According to the Harvard Business Review, U.S. companies that have instituted written skills tests for managers see decreases of 4% to 10% in the share of managerial jobs held by white women, African-American men and women, Hispanic men and women, and Asian- American women during the proceeding five years.

Current economic conditions and the growing competition for talent call for a better process. Traditional assessments can be effective; we shouldn’t ignore them. However, they are only a portion of what research shows can predict success in a role.

By combining traditional capability, behavior and results assessments with new measurements that focus on passion, purpose and mindset, we can better predict the success of candidates.

Challenges of the Current Process for Candidates:

  • The process is often long with multiple stages of video, phone and in-person interviews as well as potential skills assessments.
  • Candidates don’t feel they can show the full spectrum of who they are, and they may miss out on an opportunity because of one weakness even though they have several strengths.
  • The process doesn’t give candidates enough of an opportunity to understand the culture and values of the organization or show hiring managers why they would want to work there.
  • The process provides minimal opportunity to demonstrate their passion.
  • Candidates don’t get a lot of feedback as they move through the process, especially at the earlier stages.

Challenges of the Current Process for Employers:

  • Strong candidates can become disengaged and remove themselves from the process if there are too many stages.
  • Strong candidates are often screened out when they have unmeasured strengths that would lead them to succeed in the role.
  • There is no objective way to measure if a candidate will be engaged and happy in the role.
  • Certain assessments can be more difficult for certain groups of people, resulting in less cognitive diversity among the candidates who make it through the process.

Defining the Terms

When thinking about the factors that we evaluate to determine if a candidate is a good fit, it’s best to think of them like individual gears that work together to drive how a candidate works. What each candidate brings to a role is a combination of their capabilities, behavior, results, passion, purpose and mindset. When those gears work together in the right environment, the candidate will be a successful employee.

Capability: Capability is a candidate’s core intellectual ability and capacity. Cognitive ability tests that measure a person’s verbal or numerical capabilities can have a moderate to strong correlation with performance. Traditional assessments and interviews measure capability.

Behavior: A candidate’s past behavior and personality-based behavioral preferences work relatively well to predict performance. These can be measured through structured interviews where a candidate explains what they did in the past or during an assessment where an employer can observe a candidate take an action. Behavior is measured during traditional interviews and assessments.

Results: Results are what a candidate has already achieved in terms of the knowledge, skills and experience that are required to deliver in a role. Results can be evaluated through skills-based work examples. This is something traditionally reviewed during the interview and assessment process.

Passion: Passion is a candidate’s enthusiasm, enjoyment and commitment to mastering the requirements of a role. When an employee is passionate about a role, they are engaged. According to Gallup, 85% of workers are not engaged in their current roles. Dale Carnegie Training reports that organizations with engaged workers outperform their peers by 202%. However, most employers don’t currently have a method to effectively understand what a candidate is passionate about.

Purpose: Purpose is a candidate’s alignment with and willingness to contribute to the vision and values of an organization. One study reported by McKinsey found that, out of 100 variables, employees reported that seeing purpose and value in their work was their most motivating factor – even more so than compensation.

Purpose-driven work is especially important for younger workers. According to Cone, 75% of millennials and 55% of all age groups in the U.S. would take a pay cut to work at a socially and environmentally responsible company. Despite this, the traditional interview and assessment process doesn’t include a deep dive into whether the candidate aligns well with the purpose of an organization.

Mindset: Mindset is a candidate’s belief about themselves and their basic qualities. These beliefs are rarely measured by employers. There are two types of mindset: fixed and growth.

Fixed mindset is the belief that one’s talents are innate gifts and not malleable.

Growth mindset is the belief that one’s talents can be developed through education and effort.

People with a growth mindset achieve more throughout their lives because they’re focused on learning. In children, growth mindset is correlated with increased test scores, achievement and enjoyment in school.

According to Deloitte, companies that practice a growth mindset create “designed growth” and stretch assignments and openly discuss mistakes to promote learning. Those companies are three times more profitable and have four times better retention than those that do not.

We believe that passion, purpose and mindset can have as much impact on performance as core intellect, what you’ve achieved and how you’ve behaved. Most employers are not assessing for all of these factors, so they are missing out on a comprehensive look at candidates. As part of PeopleScout’s talent advisory practice, we have developed a model that evaluates all six performance indicators.

The Whole Person Model

We developed the whole person model to evaluate capability, behavior, results, passion, purpose and mindset and how they interact. In this graphic, the gears operate together to contribute to the success of the candidate.

At the center is context. The way we measure all six factors depends on the role and the broader context of the organization. In the whole person model, assessments are built with a deep understanding of the organization and the factors that contribute to success in a particular role. For example, the way we measure results and passion will be different for an engineer at a large tech company than a retail sales representative.

In this graphic, you will also notice that each gear is a different size. The relative size of the gear demonstrates the weight of each factor in predicting success. We believe that mindset, passion and purpose should be key factors in assessing candidates for a particular role; however, the relative weighting of each factor will be determined by the context of the role and the organization.

The whole person model measures each candidate in a way that gives all candidates the opportunity to show their best selves. For example, if a candidate has not shown significant results thus far in their career, but they demonstrate a large amount of passion for the industry and the role, that passion could make up for the other weakness.

By looking at candidates through the lens of the whole person model from the start, we provide a more intellectually diverse slate of candidates. This is because the model identifies candidates who excel in different ways. The model more effectively identifies candidates who have the passion and purpose that align with an organization and the mindset to experience continued success in the future.

Benefits of the whole person model:

  • Increase ability to source candidates with skills of the future
  • More engaging candidate experience
  • Shorter hiring process
  • Enhance the ability to measure the strengths of a person earlier in the process
  • Expand the ability to measure future readiness
  • Improve cognitive diversity
  • Lengthen employee tenure
  • Boost perceived fairness from candidates

THE CURRENT STATE OF ASSESSMENTS AND A BETTER WAY FORWARD

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional assessments that focus on a candidate’s capability, behavior and results are not enough to predict success in the current candidate market.
  • We believe that passion, purpose and mindset should be key factors in assessing candidates for any role.
  • The whole person model is built to look at each candidate holistically, so employers get a slate of stronger, more diverse candidates.

The Whole Person Model in Practice

By VICTORIA OFFICER
Senior Assessment and Development Consultant

The whole person model is a highly bespoke assessment process. We have found that the model functions best in two contexts: high-volume hiring and highly specialized leadership hiring.

If an organization needs to hire a large number of candidates for a specific role or type of role, the whole person model can produce stronger, more diverse candidates and can result in longer-tenured employees. The process of building out the tailored assessments is time – and cost-effective for high-volume hiring.

The whole person model can also be valuable when searching for the right candidate for a leadership role. For organizations in times of transition, it can be difficult to identify candidates with the ability to lead through change.

In this article, we will explain how we at PeopleScout apply the model practically to both hiring examples.

This infographic is one example of the whole person model in practice for high-volume hiring. It includes three stages and each stage measures different aspects of a candidate’s background, or gears of the whole person model:

  1. A realistic job and culture preview
  2. The One Experience online assessment
  3. The final stage of online assessments, which we call the Assessment Center

During the realistic job and culture preview, a candidate gets a practical look at what it would be like to work for your organization and in this particular role. This section will include media, like a video job description, shaped by your EVP and employer brand and customized to a job’s responsibilities.

Showcasing the job and the employer brand of the organization is critical during the realistic job and culture preview because it assesses the passion and purpose of the candidate. If the candidate identifies with and is enthusiastic about your organization, they will continue through the process. If a candidate does not feel as though their passion and purpose align, they will not continue in the process.

The One Experience assessment is an online holistic tool that assesses each part of the whole person model. Candidates answer questions in a variety of formats that allow them to demonstrate their different strengths. Each of the six factors is weighted differently based upon their ability to predict candidate success and the requirements and expectations in a role.

In the One Experience tool, the scores for each type of assessment will be combined and weighted, and candidates who meet a certain threshold will be moved along to the next step. Because there are a variety of ways to earn a passing score on these assessments, there will be a more cognitively diverse group of candidates that make it through this part of the process.

At this stage, the assessments include automated feedback reports so that candidates have a better understanding of why they do or do not move forward. This improves the candidate experience because candidates who do not get the position are not left in the dark. It gives them an opportunity to see why they may not have been the best fit.

The final step is the last set of online assessments, which we call the Assessment Center, to further narrow the candidate pool. In this example, it  measures mindset, passion, capability and behavior. However, it can be adapted to focus on the categories that show the strongest predictive ability for a specific position. This stage also includes automated feedback reports.

Using this model, we see fewer candidates making it past the realistic job and culture preview to complete the One Experience tool, but 50% of those who do complete that step go on to pass and move to the Assessment Center. Those who make it to the Assessment Center have a pass rate of 75%, which is higher than the traditional process. In the old process, clients viewed a pass rate of 50% at this stage as high.

Whole Person Model Use Case: Leadership Hiring

In the case of leadership hiring, rather than using the One Experience tool, the whole person model uses a deep-dive interview in which the questions are designed to assess the candidate’s passion, purpose and mindset, as well as their capability, behavior and results – the six factors included in the model. By assessing top candidates for these factors, organizations can better identify leaders who fit well with their organization and goals.

To understand how this works, let’s look at how we applied the whole person model to help the Scottish Police Authority appoint the next Chief Constable for Police Scotland.

How did this impact the onboarding process?

The new Chief Constable continued the developmental work they invested in during the assessments process and received a series of coaching sessions throughout the transition.

All candidates reported a positive experience that provided ample opportunity to demonstrate their capability and suitability for the role.

Applying the Whole Person Model to Your Hiring

In the current economic climate, employers who hire and retain candidates with a growth mindset and who align with the passion and purpose of the organization will be at an advantage. By assessing for these factors and looking at the whole person, employers can better identify those candidates and set themselves up for success.

When employers face the challenge of hiring a large volume of employees, the model can be customized to efficiently identify the best candidates with a passion for the work and the organization. When an organization is looking to make a leadership hire but is struggling to find candidates with relevant experience, the model can be customized to identify those who can learn, lead and grow with the organization.

THE WHOLE PERSON MODEL IN PRACTICE

Key Takeaways

  • The whole person model is a bespoke process and works best for high-volume and leadership hiring.
  • When used for high-volume hiring, the whole person model can produce stronger, more diverse candidates and can result in longer-tenured employees.
  • When used for leadership hiring, the model can identify leaders who fit well with an organization and its culture and goals.

Employer Value Proposition and Employer Branding: Time for Change is Here

By NICOLE FUQUA
Trend Writer

In talent acquisition, we’re hearing a lot about the importance of a strong employer value proposition (EVP) and a well-managed employer brand platform. It’s true – taking control of your employer brand will help your organization stand out in the current, tight-talent market. However, the approach many organizations have taken to building an EVP is dated. To be effective, an EVP and employer brand platform needs to be built for the rapidly changing world we live in today.

There are many definitions of employer brand, but at PeopleScout, we define employer brand, employer value proposition and employer brand platform as the following:

Employer Brand: Your employer brand is the perception and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Employer Value Proposition: Your employer value proposition, or EVP, captures the essence of your uniqueness as an employer and the give and get between you and your employees.

Employer Brand Platform: The creative communications you create and distribute based on your employer value proposition that guide the perception of your employer brand in the marketplace.

In this section, we dig into how to build an EVP and employer brand platform that stands out in the current candidate landscape. We’ll describe how to make sure it is unique and authentic to where your organization is today. We’ll also show you how to make it aspirational to share where you want your organization to go while keeping it dynamic enough to appeal to different candidates and keep up with the changing talent landscape. In this section, we will cover the process from beginning to end – from gathering the insights needed to define an EVP to integrating that EVP into every step of your candidate experience.

Traditionally, employer value propositions have been developed at one moment in time. They have not kept pace with the changing world, the multi-generational workforce and evolving workplace and candidate behavior. These EVPs are generally created with only input from executives, and without insights from employees throughout the organization. Then, that EVP is used for years before it is updated using the same process.

These traditionally formulated EVPs are often generalized with the aim of speaking to the widest audience. What really happens is that these statements feel meaningless to candidates because the EVP doesn’t speak directly to the different types of candidates an employer wants to recruit – either based on skills or demographics.

This means that in the current economic conditions, employers with poorly defined and managed EVPs are left behind in the competition for talent. Candidates are drawn to organizations with EVPs that align with their own personal values.

These factors all combine to shift the goal for employers. Traditionally, employers have aimed for quantity – looking for large numbers of applicants with the theory that they could find top candidates. Now, to stay ahead, employers should focus on attracting the best candidates with a growth mindset whose passion and purpose align with the organization’s mission. Employers should look for fewer applicants in total, but more people who fit the culture of the organization and who possess the skills needed to drive a company into the future. A well-defined EVP and well-managed employer brand can help accomplish this.

In this section, PeopleScout’s experts guide you through the process of developing an employer value proposition and employer branding platform that speaks to the candidates your organization wants to hire and can keep up with the rapidly changing landscape.

Building an Employer Value Proposition and Employer Brand for the Future

By SIMON WRIGHT
Managing Partner of Advisory Services

There are four key factors to building a strong EVP: uniqueness, authenticity, aspiration and dynamism. You can see how they interact in the EVP of one of our clients, Linklaters, an international law firm. The role of a lawyer is changing with AI and automation; it’s becoming more consultative and advisory as opposed to administrative. We developed the EVP, “Great Change is Here,” for Linklaters to help them attract the candidates they need to take their organization into the future. Below, I’ll share how this EVP is unique, authentic, aspirational and dynamic.

Unique: Your EVP should stand out from the crowd and have a unique point of view. Many organizations promote statements like “Our people are our strength.” Because a statement like this is generic, it doesn’t tell a job candidate why they should work for your organization specifically, which makes it less effective.

The “Great Change is Here” EVP is unique because rather than emphasize the traditional aspects someone might attribute to a lawyer – attention to detail or strong analytical skills – it focuses on where the profession is going.

Authentic: An authentic EVP should reflect the true culture and values of your organization. If your EVP doesn’t reflect who you are, you can’t speak to the people who would excel in your culture. An EVP that lacks authenticity could leave new hires feeling confused and betrayed if they find the culture is different than what they were led to believe.

“Great Change is Here” speaks to the way the culture truly operates within Linklaters – they are market leaders and future-focused. In the employer branding platform, we featured real employees and real stories to ensure the message was authentic to what the firm is and who the employees are.

Aspirational: Your EVP should also reflect where your organization wants to go. The aspirational aspects of your EVP will help you attract people who have the skills and passion to help you get there.

For Linklaters, the EVP calls out the fact that change is at the organization and in the industry and, no matter what the future holds, they are ready.

Dynamic: Your EVP should be dynamic in two ways. The first is that it should be agile enough to respond to change, but also future-focused. The second is that parts of the message should be able to be dialed up or down to speak to different audiences. Over time, the current state and the aspirational state of your organization will change, and your EVP should shift with you.

Your EVP should also be able to speak to the diverse group of candidates you want to attract. Your current employees are not one homogenous group – they have different roles and responsibilities and come from different backgrounds. The candidates you are targeting are equally diverse. The core of your employer brand should start with a universal truth, but effective employers will also create messaging that speaks directly to different audiences and geographies.

Gathering Insights to Produce Results

An effective EVP should be developed through a process of embedded discovery. This is what we do at PeopleScout. We spend time in each organization, developing a deep understanding of the culture, the goals and what makes the organization unique. We ask hard questions and gather insights that leaders may miss when they are too close to be objective. Our approach also allows employees to speak more candidly.

This process includes qualitative research – like conversations with leaders of the organization and former and current employees – and quantitative research, including data from candidates as well as engagement and pulse surveys. During this initial insights phase, we collect data and information from new hires, current employees and alumni of your organization so you can understand what motivates people to stay and what drives people to leave. You may have some of this information from exit interviews, but you can learn more by adding stay interviews and new-hire surveys.

After completing the discovery process, we define three elements:

  • Your organization’s aspirations: This includes short- and long-term goals about how the organization wants to change in response to industry and cultural transformation.
  • Your organization’s current state: This should reflect the reality – the good and bad about what it is like to work at your organization right now.
  • The outside perception of your organization: This should include the level of brand recognition you have as an employer, as well as what potential candidates think of your organization.

There will be areas of overlap between these three elements, and by analyzing where they intersect, we can begin to build your EVP. We put together a statement that reflects those three elements and what is unique, authentic and aspirational about your organization. We also build the EVP so it can bend to speak to different audiences and change over time. Once that statement starts to take form, we test, refine and optimize.

Testing, Refining and Optimizing

The process of building an effective EVP is more akin to the process of testing and refining prototypes than it is to a grand reveal. In many ways, gathering insights and testing will happen at the same time. Throughout the process, start with a hypothesis, and then test and refine the message. Your hypothesis will be challenged through conversations with leaders and employees so that it can be refined for an initial roll-out.

Throughout this process, you will make changes to your initial EVP framework as you see what aspects of it resonate with your audience and current employees. During the testing phase, you should also identify your audiences. Your organization will have several, depending on the type of work you do. The type of candidate you want for a digital or creative position will likely be drawn in differently than a candidate for a floor manager or call center position. Test your EVP with these different audiences and build a spectrum of employer brand messaging, rather than one that simply splits the difference. Once your EVP is ready, you move into the roll-out stage – gaining buy-in from your current employees and infusing it throughout your entire candidate experience.

You can see how we adapted the EVP for Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery store, in the following case study.

Once you roll out an EVP, you aren’t done testing, refining and optimizing. One way to think of this process is that your EVP should always be “in beta.” This doesn’t mean you need to undergo the process of discovery from the beginning each time you modify your EVP. Instead, as your organization evolves, continuously test and evolve your brand messaging so that it always reflects where your organization is and where your organization is going.

BUILDING AN EMPLOYER VALUE PROPOSITION AND EMPLOYER BRAND FOR THE FUTURE

Key Takeaways

  • Employers need to create an EVP that is unique to their organization, that speaks to both their present state and their future and keeps up with the pace of change in the global economy.
  • Your EVP should be created through a process that assesses the gaps between where your organization aspires to be, what employees really experience and how the outside world sees your organization.
  • Your EVP should be optimized by testing and refining your messaging to build an employer brand that speaks directly to the candidates you want to attract.

Launching and Managing a Dynamic EVP and Employer Brand

By PAULA SIMMONS
Strategic Planning Director

After building a strong EVP and employer brand, employers face the challenge of effectively promoting and marketing that brand to candidates and employees. The roll-out and management of an employer brand platform is just as important as the care taken to research and craft that positioning.

For many organizations, it’s easy to show enthusiasm while developing a new EVP, but that same enthusiasm needs to continue through the internal and external launches.

A Cornell University report* identifies several tangible benefits of a strong employment brand:

  • Organizations with an employer brand platform experience an average turnover rate of 10%; the overall turnover average is as high as 16%.
  • When organizations live up to their marketed EVP, new employees arrive with a higher level of commitment at 38%, compared to organizations that don’t live up to their marketed EVP, which are at just 9%.
  • As an employer brand progresses, employees buy in to the new corporate culture, which increases their motivation.
  • A strong employer brand can increase employee engagement, even through periods where employee headcount is reduced and salary raises are controlled.
  • In organizations with a developed employer brand, employees are more engaged in the decision-making and management process.

*“Is There a Correlation for Companies with a Strong Employment Brand Between Employee Engagement Levels and Bottom Line Results?”

Starting From the Inside Out

As a Refresher:
Employer Brand: Your employer brand is the perception and lived experiences of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Employer Value Proposition: Your employer value proposition, or EVP, captures the essence of your uniqueness as an employer and the give and get between you and your employees.

Employer Brand Platform: The media you create and distribute based on your employer value proposition that guides the perception of your employer brand in the marketplace.

The internal launch of an EVP and employer branding platform lays the groundwork for the success of the external launch. To make the internal launch successful, you need to bring the EVP to life so employees understand and embrace it. When employees are engaged with your employer brand, they will become brand ambassadors.

The careful process of gathering insights within your organization, which occurs during the discovery phase is key to a successful internal launch because employees need to recognize their own reality in a new EVP. If an EVP and employer brand platform doesn’t resonate with current employees, you will struggle to develop advocates and champions of the brand.

An effective internal rollout needs to accomplish these four steps to create advocates and amplify the brand:

1. The leadership team and hiring managers should know and understand the elevator pitch of your organization.

The people who are on the frontlines interacting with candidates represent your brand and should be able to articulate your EVP consistently. If you don’t have an effective internal rollout, your external message will not be consistent. These brand ambassadors should be trained on the talking points and should practice sharing the pitch with candidates.

2. Recruiters know where they can find materials to share your message and how they can reach out to their networks.

Your current employees can also function as brand ambassadors and can create valuable marketing opportunities. They should clearly understand and identify with your new EVP, and they should have the tools they need to share that messaging with their networks. A successful internal launch should ensure they have access to a library or media toolkit of employer branding material, and they should be encouraged to use it. This should include videos, images and even messaging for social media that employees can copy and paste to enable employees – ranging from recruiters to outgoing workers with large networks – to share online.

3. Your employees should feel empowered to share your message and refer strong candidates.

During your internal launch, encourage employees to share your brand culture and their experiences with their networks. In large organizations, this can be a challenge, but it is a culture you can build through team conversations and highlighting examples of your EVP in action. With this, you can encourage employees to share their own experiences.

4. Identify talent scouts, a type of employee brand ambassador who can identify people in their networks and encourage them to join your organization.

Some of your current employees will have strong networks and will excel at finding people in those networks with “the right stuff” to succeed at your organization. Some employees will also have the opportunity to share your employer brand at speaking engagements, conferences and other industry events – even if those events aren’t directly related to employer branding.

Launching a new employer brand platform is an opportunity for a renewed focus on employee referrals. Current employees who can understand and articulate your EVP can point you to people in their networks who may also be a good fit.

To drive increased referrals for our client, Virgin Media, we revamped its referrals site to make the employer brand the heart of the site. Additionally, we helped the organization communicate the EVP to current employees so they could identify the organization’s “kind of people.” Less than one year later, referrals increased from 10% to 25% of external hiring; staff participation increase by 40%; the organization saved an average of $9,000 per hire; and the quality of hires increased.

Bringing Your EVP to Life Through the Candidate Experience

After a successful internal launch, in which your employees understand your EVP and brand ambassadors have the tools they need to share your message, you will be ready to launch your employer brand platform externally through your candidate experience. This launch should be a multifaceted approach driven by the audience insights you gleaned during the earlier stages of EVP development. Before you launch externally, you should understand the types of candidates you want to attract, what type of media they consume, where they are and how you can speak to them. As you build out your employer branding platform, vary your media and messaging to speak directly to those audiences.

Below are several external employer branding platforms and examples from Virgin Media. Virgin has a large workforce and needs employees who can support its organization today and adapt for the future. The company struggled to fill senior corporate roles, field sales advisors and part-time retail positions. We helped build an EVP that emphasized the open-minded, less corporate, fast and flexible culture of Virgin Media.

Brand Ambassadors

Your candidate experience starts with the first time a candidate experiences your brand. In many cases, this could be by interacting with a brand ambassador, like an employee who shares job openings and encourages people in their network to apply.

According to Marketing Week, nearly 70% of consumers don’t trust advertising and 42% don’t trust brands. Additionally, nearly six in 10 consumers don’t trust brand communication unless they see “real-world proof” of the message.

In an employer branding campaign, your employees functioning as brand ambassadors can provide that real-world proof. Changing algorithms on social media sites also make the voice of the employee louder than the voice of the brand. Facebook changed its algorithm in early 2018 to favor content from friends and family as part of the company’s response to the platform being used to spread disinformation, according to Wired. This means that messaging from employees will reach more people than messaging from your brand, and you should match your strategy to this reality.

Recruitment Toolkits

To make sure your brand ambassadors can share your message effectively, build a media toolkit that recruiters can use to find images, videos or even text they can copy and paste to share your message. This also ensures you have some control over what employees post and share so that it ties to a consistent message. This toolkit should include things like video, shareable social media images, guidelines, ideas, templates and even pieces of prewritten copy and design elements that employees can piece together. These pieces of media should be stored where employees can easily access them, but the storage method will depend on what technology your organization already has in place, such as an intranet or a platform like SharePoint.

The assets should be varied, using different messages to target the variety of audiences you’ve identified during the research and development stage. Using this library, recruiters and hiring managers can easily share high-quality, specific images, video or text with their networks, which improves efficiency and extends the reach of your brand

For Virgin Media, we created a toolkit with more than 100 different pieces of media to make it fast and easy for recruiters to disseminate brand communications. To help tackle their challenge of attracting candidates for senior corporate roles, we produced online video content in an informal and unpolished style. It showcased a day in the life of an employee at different office locations and we made it available through the toolkit. After these videos were shared on social media by recruiters and other employees and on specialist job boards the number of days-to-offer decreased by 44% for management accountant roles and by 26% for analyst roles.

Personalized Career Sites

A career site with personalized content will help reach the different types of candidates you want to attract to your organization. It is no longer enough to brand your career site with a one-size-fits-all approach. Certain candidates may be drawn in by the social purpose of your organization. Others may be looking for career advice. Your site should speak to all of them.

For Virgin Media, we created a clean, compelling recruitment brand destination that is easy to use. The careers site laid out the EVP through web copy, and the site also included personalized information for candidates for the wide variety of roles.

To support the hiring of part-time retail employees, the career site heavily featured these roles – listing them as hot jobs on the home page. This strategy, combined with new imagery from the employer branding platform and promotion on social media and relevant job boards, increased applications for these roles by 107%.

Onboarding

Your employer branding platform cannot simply end with the offer letter. Between being offered a job and joining the organization, you want these future employees to feel like they are part of something. An onboarding process that reflects your EVP will validate a new hire’s choice and underscore the EVP communicated during the hiring process. Your onboarding process should bring the culture of your organization to life in a way that’s tailored to each role.

We updated the internal onboarding site for Virgin Media with information about locations, benefits, the company’s vision and values, frequently asked questions and information about the people they need to know and who they can go to for help. The new site saw double the average number of pages viewed per visit and people spent 2.5 times longer on the website.

Keeping it Dynamic

After undertaking an internal and external launch, it can be daunting to keep an EVP dynamic so it changes as your organization evolves. However, if you create, launch and measure the success of your EVP with that in mind, the process will be much easier.

The majority of the data collected during the initial research stage is likely data you continuously monitor on your career site through job applications, from new hires and through employee pulse surveys. With these sources of data, you can optimize hiring metrics through AB testing and tracking and refine your message as your organization evolves in the future. By testing, you can see what works. For example, you could experiment with different images or a message that emphasizes a certain aspect of your EVP and see if the right candidates respond.

If you created an EVP that is truly unique and authentic yet aspirational, the DNA at the core of your employer brand will remain true as you move forward. However, as you monitor success, data will show which messages are effective with each audience. Armed with that information, your employer brand should grow and flex as you face new challenges.

Finding an EVP Partner

If your organization is looking to develop and launch a new EVP and employer brand platform, an outside partner is valuable because you are often too close to see your organization from a candidate’s perspective. You may also lack the internal expertise and bandwidth. Here are three things to consider when looking for an EVP and employer brand partner:

  1. Look for a partner that goes beyond an academic exercise of presenting data about “what people want” and instead takes a more custom approach to develop an EVP and platform that is fully tailored to you. Ask what that partner will do to get under the skin of your organization to define what is authentic for you.
  2. Your talent advisory partner should be future-focused and understand the cultural, economic and geographic differences of the employees who work at your organization and the candidates you want to attract. Ask how they will be able to shift your communications and messaging to speak to different audiences.
  3. Ask a potential partner how they translate the quantitative and qualitative data they collect into stories that will resonate with your audiences and stand out from the crowd.

LAUNCHING AND MANAGING A DYNAMIC EVP AND EMPLOYER BRAND

Key Takeaways

  • The launch and management of an EVP and employer branding platform are just as important as the research and development stages.
  • A successful internal launch needs to be the first step so you can develop brand ambassadors.
  • Your external launch should be a multifaceted, research-driven approach that speaks to your audiences through every step of their candidate journey.

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